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Kakafukaka by Takumi Ishida

A Full Review

(NOTE: Spoilers are marked in brackets like this [spoiler]. Highlight the text to read.)

Kakafukaka by Takumi Ishida is a decent story about 20-something roommates sharing a condo and the shenanigans that ensue. Aki Terada, 24, is our loser heroine. She was the queen bee, hot stuff, back in middle school, but now? She’s lacking confidence; she’s wishy washy, and she’s an unemployed, broke gal who's been unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend in the worst way and is in need of new digs. She scores a room in a shared condo (thanks to a friend who we see little of afterwards). In the condo, she runs into her ex Hongyo, now a sci-fi novelist, who asks for her help with his…writer’s block. From there drama ensues.

volume 1 cover of the manga "Kakafukaka"

First, I was surprised how drama filled this was. With the premise in regards to sex, erectile dysfunction, and rekindling lost love, I thought it was going to be a laugh-out-loud comedy, and sadly, it’s not. Kakafukaka is not a hard drama nor is it melodramatic, but it is a light drama. Aki gets into a relationship with two boy roomies, just not at the same time. Her ex Hongyo is a listless, eccentric recluse, and just like Aki, he hasn't quite gotten over their past relationship either. In fact... [He uses his memories of Aki from middle school as inspiration for his heroine in his sci-fi novels.] And honestly...everyone in the condo is a bit nuts. Everyone's awkward and messy.

Besides, Hongyo we have Akari, a diehard fan of Hongyo's books. She's a blunt, no-nonsense type of character. Finally, we have boy roomie and potential love interest #2 Hase. Hase is the "landlord" of the condo and is the oldest out of everyone and yet is the least mature of them all. Hase is manipulative and calculating. He's a creep, and he needs therapy and [maybe switch teams for a bit. I dunno.]

panel from the manga "Kakafukaka"; man talks to woman

Overall, the series feels a little off to me. Everything is messy. Ishida brings up a lot of stuff in this series that goes unaddressed or gets glossed over like... Hase's overbearing mother. Also, the focus is mainly on Aki, Hase, and Hongyo. Akari is often treated as a third wheel, but she does get some development towards the end. Also, Aki's friends would have been better off left on the cutting room floor as they pop up once in a blue moon. The ending is a "happy for now" type of ending. It is satisfying. Ain't no way any of this was going to end on a nice, clean note, lol. If you're looking for an offbeat story about adult characters living together and dealing with their relationships and sex, then definitely read Kakafukaka. 7/10

Check out all 12 volumes of the manga via Kodansha (digital-only). You can also check out the live-action TV drama. The manga was adapted to TV in 2019.

volume 12 cover of the manga "Kakafukaka"

What to read after Kakafukaka:

  • My Pink is Overflowing by Yuki Monou

  • Our Bodies, Entwining, Entwined by Iko

  • Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura

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